The St. John’s Men’s Basketball program announced on Monday the addition of former Vermont star Stef Smith as a graduate transfer for the 2021-22 season.
Smith, a two-time all-league selection who won four America East Regular Season Championships in as many seasons with the Catamounts, will utilize the universal extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA to compete with the Johnnies.
Vermont went 90-27 during Smith’s four-year tenure and won no fewer than 26 games in any of his first three campaigns.
“We are very excited to welcome Stef to the St. John’s Basketball family,” said Red Storm Head Coach Mike Anderson. “Stef is a winner who experienced tremendous success during his undergraduate years at Vermont. Without a doubt, Stef adds firepower to our lineup at both ends of the floor and brings veteran leadership to our locker room.”
This past season, Smith started all 14 of his appearances for the Catamounts, averaging 13.6 points on 40.3 percent shooting, including a 36.0 percent mark from beyond the arc. He eclipsed the 20-point plateau three times, including a season-high 27 points against NJIT on Dec. 27, and was named to the America East All-Conference Second Team. His final 20-point outing of the season featured a 6-for-7 showing from three-point range at UMBC on Feb. 18.
Smith’s abbreviated senior year production was down slightly from his junior year output, when the Ajax, Ont., native earned a spot on the America East All-Conference First Team after ranking second on the team with 14.2 points per game. Smith shot a conference-best 42.3 percent from beyond the arc, including a blistering 49.4 percent against league foes. He reached double figures 26 times in 33 appearances with seven 20-point performances, including a season-high 28 points on 8-of-13 shooting against Stony Brook in Vermont’s conference opener. One of his more memorable performance’s that season came in the gym that he will soon call home, as Smith netted 17 points on 7-of-13 shooting in Vermont’s matchup with the Red Storm in Carnesecca Arena. The top-seeded Catamounts were one win away from their second straight NCAA Tournament appearance in 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the America East Tournament following a 20-point showing from Smith in the Catamounts’ semifinal victory over UMBC. Smith also led Vermont in assists (85) and steals (35) as a junior.
As a sophomore in 2018-19, Smith averaged 12.4 points per game for a Catamounts team that went 27-7, won the America East title and held a second half lead over Florida State in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament. Smith scored 15 points and made three of his five three-point attempts against the Seminoles. On the season, Smith finished in double figures 23 times in 34 games, 33 of which were starts. He scored 20-plus points six times, including a career-best 28 point showing in the America East semifinals that saw him go 8-of-10 from beyond the arc. Smith was unsurprisingly named to the America East All-Tournament Team that year.
Smith earned America East All-Rookie Team honors in 2017-18 after appearing in 34 games for the Catamounts. His best outing of the season came on the road against Marquette, as Smith went 7-of-8 from the floor and 6-of-6 from beyond the arc in a 20-point performance.
Smith graduated from Vermont in 24th place on the school’s all-time scoring list with 1,211 points in 115 career games. His 198 made triples are the eighth most in program history while his 38.8 career three-point field goal percentage is tied for seventh.
Smith will join a St. John’s squad that was predicted to finish ninth in the BIG EAST Preseason Coaches Poll and instead came in fourth. The Red Storm’s 10-9 league mark was its first winning BIG EAST record since 2014-15 and gave the Johnnies their highest seed in the conference tournament since 2000.
St. John’s went 8-3 over its final 11 conference games, including road wins against the likes of UConn, Marquette and Providence and a home victory over then-No. 3 Villanova in Queens.
Anderson finished the season with a winning record (16-11) for the 19th time in 19 opportunities as a head coach. He is one of only four active Division I coaches with at least 15 years of experience to have never registered a losing season alongside Gonzaga’s Mark Few, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo and Arizona’s Sean Miller. This past February, Anderson won his 400th career game.
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